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Someone poke the eye in the sky, please 2003

We live a couple blocks from Castro & Market. Yes, we heard the DJ'd music, but it wasn't that loud inside our place especially once we put on some mellow guitar music. Yes, we can hear occasional whooping and cheering. But really, what's the most annoying and loud thing tonight? The frickin' helicopters. SFPD doesn't have any - they use the CHP when they need them - so I'm betting based on that and the number of TV news trucks I saw down the street when I was walking home that those are news copters. Give it a frickin' rest.

TV news is basically crap anyhow. The only good one is the Daily Show and, as much as I love it, it still isn't enough to make me want a television again.

Posted on October 31, 2003 at 11:21 PM in warnings & kvetches | Permalink | Comments (1)

Happy Halloween! 2003

Thanks to my dear fiend Beverly, who did my makeup and hair, I was able to go as Nina Hagen, the fairy godmother of punk, this Halloween:

Dinah dressed as Nina Hagen

It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks red, black & white is a great color scheme. Pimp Daddy Paul Marinko was wowing the ladies (and taking his cut). At the insistence of many (not that they had to try too hard), we posed together:
Paul and Dinah ham it up for the camera

Thanks to Kristin and Craig for photographic assistance.

Posted on October 31, 2003 at 08:35 PM in holidays | Permalink | Comments (3)

Did they really think this through? 2003

So Amazon has this new search the whole book feature, which is neat, but I don't think they really thought it through. I mean if I want a recipe for chicken tarragon, say, why not just look it up at Amazon, compare a few recipes and go with the one I like best? And not buy any cookbooks.

Hrm. That doesn't seem very good for authors, publishers or Amazon.

Posted on October 27, 2003 at 10:29 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (4)

Distraction 2003

Okay, so I could say "Oh, I had to work on the weekend last weekend" or "I'm so distracted by the excitement of my first column appearing in the San Francisco Bay Guardian" or "I'm being a good grrrl and taking a walk every night" and that's all true, but really, what distracts me from posting?

  1. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane (two DVDs of the fantastic BBC production with Edward Petherbridge & Harriet Walter)
  2. Tropico, the Mucho Macho Edition (a game on the Mac which is of my favorite genre which I like to call "project manager games")
  3. Party Monster: The Shockumentary (which is very interesting to see after seeing the fictionalized version with Mac Culkin and Seth Green (yum))


For archive purposes, here is that column from October 22, 2003:

Being There

Beaches to books

MY GUESS IS that even without the recent election or international events, you've probably got some things on your mind. Need some time to get out of the house and think while you stretch your legs? Want to do it somewhere other than a stinky gym? I recommend a day trip walking in our beautiful city.

Begin at Ocean Beach. Walk out to the waterline and look out to sea until you feel the rhythm of your thinking change. Imagine that you've never been to this place before. You've just come upon the beach here. Turn around and look. Look at people. Look at the place. Smell the air. Turn left and start walking.

Walk north along the beach toward the Cliff House. When you run out of beach (or if you don't like sand), walk on the sidewalk on the ocean side of the street. Enjoy the variety of people. Note that it is considered gauche to stare too openly at the surfers changing in and out of their wet suits; I advocate the discreet but appreciative glance.

Follow the road up past the Cliff House and Louis' until you reach the parking lot, also known as Merrie Way. Enter the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, leaving cars and buildings behind you. Follow the coastal trail among the trees, past lovely views of the cliffs of Marin and the Golden Gate Bridge, until you come to a sign reading, "El Camino del Mar Trail." There will be a set of steps to your right. Climb them and turn left on the trail at the top.

When you come out on the small service road, stifle your disappointment at the sight of cars and walk up to the large building at the other end of the road; this is the Palace of the Legion of Honor (34th Ave. and Clement, S.F. 415-863-3330). If you're in the mood and it's not a Monday, go in and see art (current special exhibits: Degas sculptures and 19th-century photographs of India). Otherwise, after you take in the great view of the city, continue down the road (to the right as you leave the museum) through the golf course. Marvel at this bizarre use of land and time. When you reach the small restaurant at the entry to Lincoln Park, go around the north side of it and follow the narrow road until you see the big steps at the end of California Street. These are an ideal place to sit, rest, and survey the way ahead of you.

Stroll along this gentle downhill stretch of California Street, enjoying the clean, quiet neighborhood in which almost every era of San Francisco architecture is represented. The superb Angelina's deli at 22nd Avenue (6000 California, S.F. 415-221-7801) is a great place to stop for a snack or for picnic supplies.

Walk a few more blocks down California until you pass an unusual church with a blue minaret on the right (near 19th Avenue) and then go a block south and continue eastward along Clement Street. This district perfectly illustrates both the reality and the myth of the California melting pot. In barely a mile and a half, you'll encounter no less than 17 different cultures represented in the restaurants and shops of Clement Street. It's a wonderfully diverse mix, but watch the groups of people working and shopping here and you may begin to question whether there's much melting going on.

Still, mingling is a fine thing, too, and one can hardly complain when faced with the dizzying array of good food choices. Recommended spots for further snacking: Good Luck Dim Sum (736 Clement, S.F. 415-386-3388) and, a few blocks farther east, Le Soleil (133 Clement, S.F. 415-668-4848), where the spring rolls are lovely and bold hikers can restore themselves with salty plum sodas. Those who prefer the sweet to the savory treat should visit Toy Boat Dessert Cafe (401 Clement, S.F. 415-751-7505), which boasts a fabulous collection of nostalgia-inducing toys, or I Love Chocolate, a tiny café just around the corner from the end of Clement Street (397 Arguello, S.F. 415-750-9460), which will happily cater to your sugary needs.

One of the great pleasures of walking is the lack of parking hassle, and Clement Street is definitely better reached without a car. Take all the time you didn't spend driving in circles waiting for a space to open up and use it to wander in my favorite San Francisco bookstore, Green Apple Books (506 Clement, S.F. 415-387-2272). If you can't find something to please you in the main store or the annex, you're clearly still not relaxed enough. Return to Ocean Beach and start over.

MetaGrrrl is the nom de plume of Dinah Sanders, who is well along in her project to walk every block of every street of San Francisco. Chart her progress at www.metagrrrl.com.

Posted on October 23, 2003 at 10:35 PM in games, movies & tv, San Francisco, the big room with the blue ceiling | Permalink | Comments (4)

day off 2003

"PTO" [noted on old calendar]

Posted on October 16, 2003 at 12:00 PM in mundania | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why you should be very afraid of the current crop of electronic voting machines 2003

Anyone in a democracy (or a country which claims to be a democracy) should read this column by Andrew Gumbel about the real and present threat to fair elections in the United States.

Alarmed and suspicious, a group of Georgia citizens began to look into last November's election to see whether there was any chance the results might have been deliberately or accidentally manipulated. Their research proved unexpectedly, and disturbingly, fruitful.

First, they wanted to know if the software had undergone adequate checking. Under state and federal law, all voting machinery and component parts must be certified before use in an election.

[No. And worse than that,]

...when the machines were about to be shipped to Georgia polling stations in the summer of 2002, they performed so erratically that their software had to be amended with a last-minute "patch". Instead of being transmitted via disk - a potentially time-consuming process, especially since its author was in Canada, not Georgia - the patch was posted, along with the entire election software package, on an open-access FTP, or file transfer protocol site, on the internet.


But Ms Jekot was not the only one to examine the Diebold software and find it lacking. In July, a group of researchers from the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore discovered what they called "stunning flaws". These included putting the password in the source code, a basic security no-no; manipulating the voter smart-card function so one person could cast more than one vote; and other loopholes that could theoretically allow voters' ballot choices to be altered without their knowledge, either on the spot or by remote access.

Diebold issued a detailed response, saying that the Johns Hopkins report was riddled with false assumptions, inadequate information and "a multitude of false conclusions". Substantially similar findings, however, were made in a follow-up study on behalf of the state of Maryland, in which a group of computer security experts catalogued 328 software flaws, 26 of them critical, putting the whole system "at high risk of compromise". "If these vulnerabilities are exploited, significant impact could occur on the accuracy, integrity, and availability of election results," their report says.


If much of the worry about vote-tampering is directed at the Republicans, it is largely because the big three touchscreen companies are all big Republican donors, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into party coffers in the past few years. The ownership issue is, of course, compounded by the lack of transparency. Or, as Dr Mercuri puts it: "If the machines were independently verifiable, who would give a crap who owns them?" As it is, fears that US democracy is being hijacked by corporate interests are being fuelled by links between the big three and broader business interests, as well as extremist organisations. Two of the early backers of American Information Systems, a company later merged into ES&S, are also prominent supporters of the Chalcedon Foundation, an organisation that espouses theocratic governance according to a literal reading of the Bible and advocates capital punishment for blasphemy and homosexuality.

Jesus H. Christ! Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians if that ain't enough to stand your hair on end.

Please, demand that if you vote via one of these flaky, hackable systems that they be required to be able to give you a printed receipt of your vote.

And then hope that some benevolent organization establish an independent, open-source, internationally-monitored website where you can put in your vote (with the unique identifier which ought to appear on said printed receipt) and see just what tabulation that system comes up with.

Posted on October 15, 2003 at 10:05 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (1)

PoMo Failure 2003

I tried. I did try to enjoy Radiohead's Kid A.

All I managed to generate was respect, but no general pleasure. This might be a bit surprising since I like some odd & difficult stuff (e.g. Neutral Milk Hotel), but I just couldn't bring myself to like Kid A.

Posted on October 15, 2003 at 04:01 PM in music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attention: LOTR fans 2003

There will be theatrical showings of the extended versions of Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers this December. Tickets are available from Fandango. Probably from other sources as well.

There's also going to be back to back showings of those two films plus the first showing of Return of the King, but that's already sold out and who wants to see ROTK for the first time when your ass is sore and your senses are numbed by the prior 7+ hours of film?

Posted on October 12, 2003 at 08:09 PM in movies & tv | Permalink | Comments (1)

La la la 2003

Is it just me or is the la la la in Frank Zappa's "Jewish Princess" the same as Frank & Dr. Forrester's la la la in the theme song to Mystery Science Theater 3000?

(Hey, I totally warned you about being a geek. No whining.)

Posted on October 10, 2003 at 04:30 PM in music | Permalink | Comments (0)

5 years. 2003

I've been writing this weblog for half a decade. Go me!

(Yes, yes, the links are broken at the moment because I haven't moved a bunch of really old stuff to be archived here in TypePad. Just substitute my old Hurricane Electric account's IP,, for the www.metagrrrl.com when you get a Not Found message and it'll all be fine).

[December 22, 2003: This post has been noted by spammers and is getting repeated junk comments. I have closed commenting on it for that reason.]

Posted on October 10, 2003 at 08:49 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (9)

Boobie-Thon 2003

There's a happy, saucy fundraiser going on to raise money for the fight against breast cancer which you should visit and donate to. I sent in a picture, but it may have been a bit too clothed for them. (I just heard about this fun effort, but it ends in 3 days, I think, and 7:45am is way too early to be posing for anything risque). Owners of breasts and their close, personal friends should also remember to take good care of them.


By the way, anyone who thinks that this is somehow inconsistent with my stance against Schwartzenegger's groping of women doesn't understand the word "consensual". I believe everyone has a right to the the privacy of their body and that includes the right to celebrate it's beauty publically. An invitation to see isn't the same as an invitation to grab.

Posted on October 9, 2003 at 07:55 AM in health | Permalink | Comments (6)

Well, here we are. 2003

So the man with no experience in governing won.

I'm not happy about that. Not at all. However, I think he won fairly according to the laws of this state. I don't think the election was rigged and I am very pleased to see how much better a turnout this election got than past ones. Let's keep that trend going and spend our energy now not on grieving or denial or, please!, another recall, but on education.

Now that people who didn't vote before know they can have an effect on things and it's worth their time to vote, let's work on educating them to understand the difference between good acting & scripts and substantive experience and solid plans.

It's the day after the election, but I am still saying no to a recall.

Posted on October 8, 2003 at 08:07 AM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

It ain't over 'til it's over... 2003

...but the early results are not making me happy.

So I'm listening to Tool ("It's a bull shit three ring circus side show of freaks..."), hitting refresh every 10 minutes on those results, and wondering what will happen next in this crazy, stupid state.

On the bright side, it looks like both faulty propositions might fail.

Posted on October 7, 2003 at 09:08 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vote. 2003

If you have the legal right to vote, do it. People fought and died for that right. People marched in the street, were beaten, harrassed and hounded to get us the right. Don't waste it.

Use it, or lose it.

I'm serious. The head of Diebold, a major manufacturer of voting machines, promised to "deliver" the next presidential election to the Republicans. If they can't win fairly, they'll cheat. You did notice Florida last time around, didn't you?

Our civil liberties are at stake. I know it sounds hokey and sensationalistic, but we are losing our freedoms. Yes, it's work to think about this stuff. Yes, it's depressing. Yes, even when we try hard sometimes we don't win. Too bad, so sad. We've got to try anyway. It's not a done deal; your vote does count.

As Winston Churchill said, "When you're going through Hell, keep going." It ain't gonna get any better if we sit down and hope the icky people go away, folks.

Posted on October 6, 2003 at 09:57 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (2)

Schwag Queen Dinah 2003

My beautiful button for Fray Day from Heather Champ (and the snazzy as hell fabric of my jacket).

Posted on October 5, 2003 at 11:31 AM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (0)

It gets worse. 2003

He's not just sexist, elitist, and inexperienced in governing; he might also be in on the big energy ripoff. Greg Palast's latest column raises some very pointed questions:

It's not what Arnold Schwarzenegger did to the girls a decade back that should raise an eyebrow. [With that statement I strongly disagree, partly because it does matter and partly because I don't think his behavior is all that much different in the last year, but Palast probably had to write this column before the latest round of accounts of Schwarzenegger's habit of sexual harrassment] According to a series of memoranda our office obtained today, it's his dalliance with the boys in a hotel room just two years ago that's the real scandal.

The wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay. Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken.

Now, thirty-four pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men. It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off.

Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear. The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act." This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers.

It takes real cojones to bring such a suit. Who's the plaintiff taking on the bad guys? Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor and reluctant leading candidate against Schwarzenegger. (read on)

[Thanks to Fil for the link]

Posted on October 4, 2003 at 11:40 AM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elect Respect. 2003

Thinking about the gross indecency of Bush's cabinet of millionaires, of Schwarzenegger's vile attitude towards (at least) half of humankind, of the engines of disenfranchisement turning in California as they did in Florida, I become angry. I burn. And I don't think I'm alone in that.

It is time to change things. It is time to act. It is time to educate. It is time to stop the dulling of our senses and the stealing of our power.

It is time to elect people we respect. It is time to elect people who respect us.

If you feel the same, please help me turn this little new site I've created, Elect Respect, into something much bigger, which can do much more good than I can alone.

I need help creating and linking to the content which exposes evil and greed, which inspires action, which teaches effective techniques to preserve and extend individual power and dignity. Please let me know if you want to help.

Posted on October 3, 2003 at 11:15 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elect Respect 2003

Suppose your company was in trouble - layoffs, power going out sometimes, benefits cut - and you wanted to replace the CEO. Do you really think you'd pick the buff airhead from shipping who always tries to grab your ass?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a rich white prick. Don't we already have enough of those in power?

Elect someone who knows how to govern and who cares about ALL the people of California.

Posted on October 3, 2003 at 09:30 AM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Celebrate the good stuff 2003

As a member of the SXSW Steering Committee, I should point out that it's time to put in nominations for the SXSW web awards.

I encourage you to reward innovators and inspirers with public recognition and free registration to this great gathering of creative folks each March in Austin; get those nominations in now while the entry fee is low.

The 7th Annual SXSW Web Awards uncovers the best new websites, discovering the digital artists and developers who fuel the web with creative energy and ideas. Finalists in the competition win registrations to the SXSW Interactive Festival and are honored by top industry minds at the SXSW Web Awards Ceremony on March 14.

The early entry deadline is Friday, October 17; entry fee is $10 for individuals and $20 for businesses if submitted by this date. Final deadline for entries is Friday, December 19.

Visit sxsw.com/interactive/web_awards for complete information and an online submission form for the SXSW Web Awards.

Posted on October 2, 2003 at 08:05 AM in SXSW | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blog (noun) A weblog or similar brief journal usually containing links and commentary thereon. Term coined by Peter Merholz.

Visit Typepad or Blogger to start your own. (I began with hand coding, then switched to Blogger when it first became available, then to Movable Type when I wanted more control over my weblog and to have it hosted at a place of my choosing (Hurricane Electric). Since 06/2003 I've used Typepad, a hosted service built by the same folks who made Movable Type, which I love because I don't have to maintain the underlying system).

You may write to Dinah @ this domain.

Except where otherwise noted all content is copyright 1965-2018 Dinah Sanders. Please do not repost my writing or other creations elsewhere. Instead, copy a tiny bit and link to the rest. Thanks! Images are copyright of their original creators. MetaGrrrl logo and photos by Dinah are copyright 1965-2018 Dinah Sanders. Inkspot Books and the Inkspot logo have been Service Marks of Dinah Sanders since 1993.